Conditions in the Isle of Youth, Pinar del Rio and the rest of western Cuba are expected to deteriorate later tonight and especially on Tuesday.
By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s civil defense network had a very active Monday trying to evacuate the most vulnerable people in the western provinces as Hurricane Ian strengthens and bears down on the island.
At 8:00 PM local time (ET) the eye of the powerful storm was located 130 miles southeast of the western tip of the island. It has strengthened rapidly over warm waters and its maximum sustained winds are now at 100 mph (155 kph) with even stronger gusts. The center of the storm is moving north-northwest at a speed of 13 mph (20 kph).
According to the National Hurricane Center the forward speed of Ian is expected to slow some on Tuesday and Wednesday before a possible landing on the east coast of Florida between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
In Artemisa the Civil Defense reported that over 80 thousand persons are already evacuated from their homes.
Meanwhile, Pinar del Rio, which over the years has felt the brunt of many hurricanes, has at least 55 evacuation centers established and at least 120 boats protected.
As our reader Moses Patterson pointed out today, the famed Pinar del Rio tobacco crop could suffer greatly from the passing of Hurricane Ian. Plantains and all vegetable crops are also in jeopardy.
According to the Havana Civil Defense authorities they are hoping to evacuate over 61 thousand people in vulnerable situations. Many will move in with family and neighbors but there are several evacuations points in the different Havana municipalities and provisions are being trucked to them.
Around 90 government ration stores in the capital were evacuated, the Regla Ferry suspended and taken to safe harbor, schools were closed, and Tuesday was declared a non-workday.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Cuban population has no materials such as plywood to protect the windows of their homes, a situation that has existed for decades.
Conditions in the Isle of Youth, Pinar del Rio and the rest of western Cuba are expected to deteriorate later tonight and on Tuesday.
Sea surges and coastal flooding with very high waves are expected on both coastlines.